The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom takes us back to the ever-popular province of Morrowind, this time to an area not seen since The Elder Scrolls: Arena way back in 1994. The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom sees the Daedric Prince of knowledge, Hermaeus Mora, recruit you to prevent reality from unravelling. Nothing too important, then…
Necrom is the game’s seventh chapter — The Elder Scrolls Online’s term for an expansion — and the first of the current, multi-year Shadow Over Morrowind storyline. It is set on the Telvanni Peninsula, just to the east of Morrowind’s Vvardenfell, and centres around the titular ancient Dark Elf city of Necrom itself.
As the chapter begins, you are soon drafted into the service of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of knowledge and cuddly eldritch eyeball. Something terrible is happening, and even though they can see all events past, present, and future, somehow someone is threatening to steal a memory that will unravel reality, threatening Nirn and the planes of Oblivion.
As you attempt to unravel how it is that such an event can somehow slip past Hermaeus Mora’s gaze, you’ll also travel to the Oblivion realm of Apocrypha — a realm you may have witnessed briefly in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — as you race to piece the puzzle together before it’s too late. The core story here sees you working with some interesting characters, from the slightly detached but powerful High Elf mage, Leramil the Wise, to the adorably pessimistic and flustered Scruut, one of Hermaeus Mora’s Watchers, Scruut is tasked with correcting contradictions in reality and is stuck with you despite her protestations.
The voice acting in The Elder Scrolls Online has generally always been of a high quality, but the performances of these two characters, in particular, made playing through the chapter extremely engaging. Combined with a range of interesting side characters, both minor and major, and the whole mystery the chapter sets up, I had very little reason to skip any dialogue. It was thoroughly engaging from start to finish.
Like the last couple of chapters, Necrom also includes two companions for you to unlock; the Argonian Warden, Sharp-as-Night, whose questline revolves around making sense of his past, and Azandar al-Cybiades, a Redguard Arcanist, who is not only talented but full of himself. Again, the voice work here makes the quests more interesting, although I don’t find either of them as interesting as the Khajiit, Ember, from the previous High Isle chapter.
Speaking of Arcanists, Necrom also adds this new eldritch-powered spellcaster to the roster of classes. It’s a very strong addition that uses a new mechanic called Crux. Scaling up to three at a time, you earn these crystals when you use certain generator skills; they can then be used to power up other abilities, from increased healing to massive bursts of damage.
Visually, I hope you like the colour green because everything from the runes you use to the energy beams you blast out is a vibrant neon green. One thing I did appreciate was that the moveset was very mobile; almost everything from your initial energy blasts to the extreme green laser beam could be cast whilst moving with very few things that had a cast time.
Overall the class is fun; levelling it as a damage dealer firing beams of green death never got old. It also felt extremely strong — perhaps too strong — so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get nerfed in the future, but as it stands right now, it’s satisfying to hit buttons with.
The two zones that you visit are also quite beautiful, the Telvanni Peninsula with its overtly fungal “Morrowind” aesthetic and the two regions that make up the realm of Apocrypha: the Endless Library, with its confounding walkways comprised of an infinite amount of books as well as Chroma Incognito, which is mostly a fog filled nightmare landscape, all look wonderful.
You’ll spend a good amount of time alternating between both realms, with Necrom acting as the central hub for proceedings — most of the vendors and daily quest givers hang out there, for example. But a lot of the plot beats also bring you back as the mystery expands.
Outside of the chapter’s core plot, the expansion also brings with it an assortment of other things, as you’d expect, a whole slew of side quests that are a mixed bag, but I’ve liked more of them than I’ve disliked. Two large public dungeons — which are dungeons anyone can enter that house a short questline — and the usual handful of Delves, short solo-friendly areas much like dungeons in a traditional Elder Scrolls title that contain a boss and also house a Skyshard to help improve your character’s skills.
There is more to discover as you play Necrom, from the roaming world bosses to the many new items to collect, including new gear and furniture to a new Tales of Tribute card deck. For newcomers to The Elder Scrolls Online, the story in this chapter is completely self-contained, so you don’t need to have knowledge from the rest of the game, but it will add to the overall arc as the Shadow Over Morrowind storyline plays out throughout 2023 and into next year.
Combined with the fun new Arcanist class, this chapter is easy to recommend, whether you’ve never set foot in Tamriel or you’ve been there from the beginning. There is a lot to sink your teeth into regardless of how you want to play. I thoroughly enjoyed my time helping my favourite cuddly eldritch eyeball, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of 2023 shapes up for The Elder Scrolls Online.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Another solid chapter with a lot to keep you invested, the only real complaint is that it’s more of the same. An interesting cast of supporting characters and the core mystery keeps the campaign engaging.